Iran Nuclear Deal Fact Sheet

  • A genuine nuclear deal is predicated on the assumption that Iran is willing to relinquish its nuclear weapons program. There is little to suggest the current Iranian Leadership has any intention of doing so. Strategically, it is simply not in their best long-term interest. 
  • Assuming Iran is not willing to relinquish its nuclear weapons program, any deal merely pushes the problem down the road. Iran will receive sanction relief in return for temporarily delaying its development of a nuclear weapon.  
  • The importance for Iran is the eventual acquisition of a nuclear weapon. The Iranian Regime does not necessarily need to acquire a nuclear weapon tomorrow. What it does need immediately is sanction relief and to prevent additional sanctions.  
  • This is partly why Iran is willing to remain at the negotiating table. As long as Iran remains in talks with the West, new sanctions are less likely to be established. If, in the process, it is able to convince the West to even temporarily reduce sanctions, this is also a strategic win.  

From Iran’s perspective, negotiations can be viewed as follows:  

Best Case: The negotiations are successful. Iran is able to convince the West to reduce or remove sanctions in return for a limited dismantling of its nuclear program. It will continue to clandestinely inch towards a nuclear weapon, waiting for the right strategic moment to make the final jump, all while enjoying a large economic benefit from the lack of sanctions.  

Worst Case: The negotiations fail. Sanctions are increased and Iran dashes for a nuclear weapon. However, Iran is now closer to developing a nuclear weapon than it was when the negotiations started. Through prolonged negotiations, it was able to stave off increased sanctions until the last possible second.   

In summary, even if Iran’s true motive is to acquire a nuclear weapon, it is still in Iran’s best interest to come to the negotiating table. Regardless of whether or not negotiations are successful, the negotiations themselves benefit their long-term goal of acquiring a nuclear weapon.  

Currently, Iran is only a few weeks away from possessing enough enriched uranium at a high enough level to be able to build a nuclear weapon. US officials admit that Iran has now overcome too many technical hurdles and advanced their program too far to be able to return to the JCPOA. Even if an agreement is reached, Iran’s breakout time would now remain substantially less than a year. The only viable nuclear deal with Iran is one that permanently removes their nuclear enrichment capabilities. Short of this, all other agreements benefit Iran’s long-term interests more than they do the United States. Here are some key aspects that would help ensure long-term success: 

  • Iran’s domestic enrichment capabilities are reduced to zero (most peaceful nuclear-powered countries don’t enrich).
  • Iranian centrifuges are also shipped out of the country, not simply uninstalled  
  • Nuclear facilities are permanently dismantled and continuously monitored by IAEA
  • Negotiations include the rest of the Middle East and Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and our other allies should be at the table   
  • Agreement is permanent and does not expire  
  • Agreement is an official treaty ratified by US Congress  

* Additional Note: A deal should include all nefarious activity, not just Iran’s nuclear program. Activity such as Iran’s illegal arms shipments, financial support to terrorism, assassinations, seizures of civilian tankers and proxy attacks on US and allied troops should all be included in an agreement. There should be an understanding that sanctions would snap back if this type of nefarious activity from Iran did not immediately stop. Providing sanction relief to Iran without coming to an agreement on these larger issues enables and incentives Iran to continue its asymmetrical military campaign against our assets and allies in the region.  

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Gabe Toole

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